The President’s Totally Unscripted, Off-the-Cuff Q&A Session with US Troops in Iraq via Video Teleconference
THE PRESIDENT: Captain Kennedy.
CAPTAIN KENNEDY: Yes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: It’s good to see you. Thanks for taking the time out of our fight for freedom to answer a few of my questions. I know you guys are gonna give me the honest truth from a soldier’s gut. I want it straight. Don’t pull any punches. Our march towards freedom is too important.
But first, I want to thank the members of the 42nd Infantry Division and Task Force Liberty for doing their part in bringing freedom to the Iraqi people. I thank you. America thanks you.
We are facing an enemy that hates freedom. They are ruthless and cold-blooded and they hate freedom. That is opposite of what we stand for. We love freedom. We stand for freedom. We’re all about freedom. I mean, heh, I love freedom so much it scares me sometimes.
So, tell me, honestly, how is the freedom going over there?
CAPTAIN KENNEDY: I’m going to throw this question to Captain Pratt, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Didn’t mean to throw you a curveball there, Captain.
CAPTAIN PRATT: Sir, the freedom is progressing smoothly. Lots of freedom on the horizon for the Iraqis sir,
THE PRESIDENT: Give me the truth, Captain, I can take it.
CAPTAIN PRATT: Straight up, Mr. President. Things could absolutely not be better in any possible, conceivable way.
THE PRESIDENT: Ok, well, heh, heh, well, what if we sent that Jessica Simpson over there to do a little concert for you all, would that make it better?
CAPTAIN PRATT: Well, Sir, yes that would make it better, but other than the possible exception of a Jessica Simpson concert, things could not be better.
CAPTAIN SMITH: Mr. President, good morning. I’m Captain Smith. I’ve been training the Iraqi Army, Sir, and I can assure you that the Iraqi Army is ready, capable and eager to begin their fight for freedom, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s good. So how is the ahh, what is it called—the thing with the ballots—the vote—how is the vote that’s coming up in about 40 hours, or around 48 hours from now. The freedom vote, how’s that going?
CAPTAIN SMITH: Great sir, the preparations for voting have gone off without a hitch. Everything is pretty much going exactly according to plan, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s good. So, let me ask you, off the top of my head here, heh, heh, you’ve had a chance to interface with the regular Iraqi folk, how do they feel about our presence there and our mission to bring them freedom? Do they love freedom yet? They gotta be lovin’ the freedom by now, I would think.
CAPTAIN SMITH: I’m going to field that one as well, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: You’re a smart fella’, Captain, heh, heh. Isn’t he smart?
CAPTAIN SMITH: Thank you, Sir. The short answer to your question is that the Iraqis love us, they love freedom, and they are totally down with the march towards freedom and all the great things that go with it, and with the exception of the freedom haters, that is an indisputable fact, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: That’s good. Hold on a second there, Captain, my microphone thingy keeps poppin’ out of my ear, heh, heh. That’s better. So it’s going good then?
CAPTAIN SMITH: It’s all good, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: But it hasn’t been easy.
CAPTAIN SMITH: No Sir, it hasn’t been easy.
THE PRESIDENT: In fact, it’s been a little hard at times.
CAPTAIN SMITH: At times, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: But it’s all good now?
CAPTAIN SMITH: Yes, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Whose that little combat lady next to you?
SERGEANT JONES: Sergeant Jones, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: Hello Sergeant. You look familiar, have you been a prop before—I mean have I seen you around before?
SERGEANT JONES: I believe I was at Ground Zero in New York when you came there, Sir.
THE PRESIDENT: I knew you looked familiar. That is some kinda coincidence right there.
SERGEANT JONES: It is pretty freaky, Sir. I would just like to tell you that my own personal observation of the troop morale, the Iraqi Army capabilities, the desire of the Iraqis for freedom, and the overall march towards freedom in general, are going great. You’re doing a terrific job, we’re doing a terrific job, the Iraqis are doing a terrific job.
THE PRESIDENT: How ‘bout Brownie, is Brownie doing a terrific job? Heh, heh, That was a joke Sergeant.
SERGEANT JONES: It was very funny, Sir.
CAPTAIN KENNEDY: Sir, Sergeant Akeel from the Iraqi Army would like to say something to you.
THE PRESIDENT: Good, let’s hear him.
SERGEANT AKEEL: I like you, Mr. President. (laughter)
THE PRESIDENT: Well ok, then.
SERGEANT AKEEL: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Ok. Thank you fine men and women. It has been an honor. I wish I could be there in Tikrit with you, just hanging out, clearing the brush. Maybe someday I’ll get there. Maybe not yet, even though it is completely secure and would be perfectly safe for me or Jessica Simpson to do so.
I just want to tell you that even if things weren’t going well, which they obviously are, as you told me yourselves in this unscripted Q & A, but even if they weren’t going well, we would never give up. We would never give in until we had achieved absolute victory over the freedom haters. And if you ever happen to find yourself in the White House Oval Office some day, don’t be afraid to say hello.
Thank you all.